If you needed any proof of Jack White’s smooth transition into the musically single life, two sold out nights at one of London’s most prestigious venue is a good place to start. Greeted with an empty stage bathed in soothing blue light there is an exciteable air about the place, reaching the tall rafters of Hammersmith’s glorious Apollo. The band for the night are the female version of the two he travels with, gathered in a semi-circle around the man himself – ghostly pale in a dark blue suit, standing front and centre.
The focus of the night is on the well received Blunderbuss album, getting singles ‘Love Interruption’ and ‘Sixteen Saltines’ out of the way early, alongside ‘Dead Leaves and Dirty Ground’ and a rip roaring barndance take on ‘Hotel Yorba’. As the night winds on it hits home that Jack White might be as close as music’s fragmented constantly critical state gets to a godfather figure. His confidence and calm amidst the crowd reaction suggests a comfort that’s rare today. He knows he’s good, and the music he makes and performs suggests that absolutely.
For something new in the Jack White saga it’s his band who make the night special. To experience these simple yet beautifully constructed songs receive the range and musicianship they’ve always deserved completes the scenario. The energy never wanes, there’s a shining vibrancy, even on quiet songs like ‘We’re Going To Be Friends’ and ‘Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy’. Perhaps inevitably superhits ‘Steady As She Goes’ and ‘Seven Nation Army’ are given an outing, leaving melted faces in their path, but it’s the tender moments from Jack that really matter. A cracked vocal version of ‘My Doorbell’ is a highlight and it’s a tender and sweet cover of Leadbelly’s ‘Goodnight, Irene’ that casts a spell on an already captivated room. He brought the noise, now Jack White has delivered the substance.